Our Supporters

Reef Ball Project off Ogden Point

Marine Mammal Monitoring Program M3

2000 Times Colonist International Gorge Waterway Swim Event

How to build an under water ROV by Bob Truelson

Plants, Species, Watershed Planning, Fish & Wildlife, Tress , Shrubs

Education Program Water Quality

Ganges, Salt Spring Island Beach Cleanup 

Pictures of the Robertson II Set 1

Pictures of the Robertson Set 2

Parker Island Barge

Some of the Older Projects

ETEAM 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002


The Veins of Life Watershed Society is back,  doing what we do best. Provide protection / restoration / beach cleanup /  lobby for effective policy and laws to protect and enhance our natural environment. 



Enhance the Storm Water Monitoring Program and create a Storm Water Utility  that encompass the Gorge Waterway / Victoria Harbour Watershed

* Create a Gorge Waterway / Victoria Harbour Watershed Conservation Authority to protect our natural environment 

Above is the Gorge Waterway/ Victoria Harbour Watershed Victoria, BC , this area encompasses Victoria Harbour starting at Ogden Point, Inner Victoria Harbour, Selkirk Waters, Gorge Waterway, Portage Inlet, Craigflower Creek, Colquitz Creek and several tributaries. Our Watershed is shared with the SongHees Nation,Esquimalt Nation, City of Victoria, Township of Esquimalt, Town of View Royal, District of Saanich, District of Langford, District of Highlands, District of Central Saanich.

Citizen Assembly for the Gorge Waterway / Victoria Harbour Watershed
Population = 247,482
4 Chief
6 Mayor
63 Council

Population = 247,482
A Plan a Plan
4 Chief
6 Mayor
63 Council
1) Blue Green Integrated Storm Water / Sewer Utility
2) Sustainable Blue Green Housing Strategy protecting our Urban Containment Boundary
3) Sustainable Blue Green Transportation
4) Protect and Enhance our Farming Infrastructure
5) Protect and Enchantment of our Fisheries, Bird and Wildlife
6) Preserve / Protect / Increase our Industrial Lands within our Harbour's
7) Establish a Victoria Harbour / Gorge Waterway Conservation Authority
8) Adopt and manage our watershed with ISO 14000 family - Environmental management System
9) Integrate all Parks under one Conservation Authority

Tsartlip First Nation : 921 1 Chief and 9 Councilor
Tsawout First Nation : 789 1 Chief and 8 Councilor
Esquimalt First Nation : 250 1 Chief 4 Council.
Songhees First Nation : 528 1 Chief and 5 Council.
District of Central Saanich : 16,814 1 Mayor and 5 Council
District of Highlands : 2,225 1 Mayor and 6 Council
District of Saanich : 113,624 1 Mayor and 8 Council
Town of View Royal : 10,408 1 Mayor and 4 Council
Township of Esquimalt : 17,655 1 Mayor and 6 Council
City of Victoria: 84,289 1 Mayor and 8 Council
Population = 247,482
4 Chief
6 Mayor
63 Council


The Veins of Life Watershed Society began in 1994 as a father, John and son, Wesley cleanup effort on the Gorge waterway in Victoria, BC. The debris removal campaign quickly gained momentum, and in 1996 a core group of active and interested volunteers registered VOLWS as a nonprofit society. 

The Veins of Life Watershed Society (VOLWS) is a community-based environmental organization operating in the Salish Sea which includes parts of Vancouver Island, BC.

VOLWS focuses on a watershed-based approach, and initiates habitat restoration projects, shoreline & stream garbage removal, environmental education programs and public outreach activities. 

The goal of VOLWS is to establish a healthy and sustainable environment in which watersheds support fish and wildlife, and recreational use. Goals are achieved through consultation and cooperation with government agencies, businesses, local environmental groups and the public.

Where did the name Veins of Life Watershed Society come from? When the discussion about the formation of a non-profit was being bantered about the discussion of a name came about. My Daughter, Tracy was looking at a Boucher published by , at that time MELP ( Ministry of the Environment BC ) in the right side of the publication was the above picture ( excuse the quality ). The picture shows the area of BC now called The Salish Sea, the red lines throughout the drawing indicate the lost salmon producing streams on the east side of Vancouver Island, and the West Coast of British Columbia. My Daughter said if you looked at the drawing it looks like the arm of a man and the red lines look like blood veins, and the name of the organization was born Veins of Life Watershed Society.



By Gordon McGuire with Neil Wyper, Michelle Chan,
Adam Campbell, Scott Bernstein and Jill Vivian.
Supervised by Professors Deborah Curran and Calvin Sandborn Editing and Layout by Holly Pattison















Salish Sea, Salishsea, geographical aera

"The Salish Sea Map, Stefan Freelan, WWU, 2009"

Salish Sea identifies a geographical area of a great inland marine waterway stretching from Puget Sound USA to the Johnstone Strait Canada, that was used by the Coast Salish First Nations peoples who historically and presently inhabit the area.
The Gorge Waterway Victoria Watershed Drainage Area
Gorge Waterway part of the Salishea, Salish Sea VOLWS


Above is the Gorge Waterway Watershed Victoria, BC , this area encompasses Victoria Harbour starting at Ogden Point, Inner Victoria Harbour, Selkirk Waters, Gorge Waterway, Portage Inlet, Craigflower Creek, Colquitz Creek and several tributaries. Our Watershed is shared with the SongHees Nation,Esquimalt Nation, City of Victoria, Township of Esquimalt, Town of View Royal, District of Saanich, District of Langford, District of Highlands, District of Central Saanich.

The population of the watershed is approximately 350, 000. The area is a mix of commercial heavy and light, farming industrial and light, shopping center's, and residential.

You will probably notice from this satellite picture that like everywhere else in North America we have managed to cut down our trees and pave it all over, and we ask our selves why is there no salmon, where did all the birds go?

Your government will tell you it's economics, how do they define economics, well bulldoze the trees, level the hills and we will prosper.



The Marine Mammal Monitoring Program (M3) started 1999, in partnership with Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, promotes stewardship of marine mammals, birds and critical habitat by providing an outreach, education and monitoring program for recreational and commercial eco-tourists in the waters surrounding the San Juan Islands and the southern Gulf Islands. Many marine species, such as whales, seals, and sea lions, inhabit this trans-boundary area also known as the Salish Sea.

Stewardship and outreach activities have focused on promoting improved guidelines for responsible whale watching. Through community outreach at local events, boat shows and the distribution of an information brochure, Be Whale Wise, M3 is promoting responsible marine mammals viewing, especially for whales. While operating a stewardship patrol vessel in the trans-boundary waters M3 staff also provided information on marine mammals watching guidelines and advised boaters when undesirable behavior occurred. After on-the-water observations, M3 staff provided commercial companies with whale watching compliance reports.



What do you want the Victoria Harbour, Gorge Waterway & Portage Inlet to look like in one hundred years. Should we now begin the process of creating an urban park for when our population crawls over one million people or more.?

Should we design an urban park along our shores, buying and removing existing housing over a period of years?

Climate change is very real, our oceans are rising, homes and land through out our watershed are already flooding, in less than one hundred years the Harbour and Gorge Waterway will increase in rise 1.3 meters on normal high tides, under the right conditions with the winter Pacific storm's, the Colquitz and Craigflower Creeks are all ready at their maximum flows, with no where to go. Waters will rise up too or exceeding 3 meters. Do we build dikes and further decimate what habitat we have left, or do we buy and tear down the existing developments and let nature take it's course. Over 1/2 of the existing homes and lands will be flooded, and rest assured those that lose their property and belonging's will be at the government coffers to bail them out, It's cheaper in the long run to buy them out and deal with it now in the next twenty or so years.

Should we have no go areas where birds and marine mammals have a rest and breeding areas where they are not disturbed.

Take a look at the shoreline along our Harbour and Gorge, the only place left natural is at the Point Ellice House, even today the remedy seems to be rip-rap with out any opportunity of natural propagation, insert the rock without soil, turn our Harbour and Gorge into one big culvert like the Frazer River and then pat yourselves on the back, plant some pretend trees, go home and enjoy your lives.

We as a community can build for the future, we just need to dream and just do it.

For those that are interested, we are following up on a project that the Veins of Life Watershed Society and The Gorge Waterway Society initiated in 1996. At that time we filmed and surveyed the entire shoreline in the Municipality of Victoria, Esquimalt, View Royal and Sannich. This was to establish a base line of changes along our Waterway, at that time because of the success of the community projects the Gorge Watershed became popular again, since then a number of illegal modifications to shoreline and docks where added without the proper permits from the various levels of Governments.

It is our intent to continue to seek enforcement of our regulations, those that have gone through our community process, have done the proper science and obtained all the permits necessary, have our whole hearted support and a thank you. Those that did not get the necessary permits & violated the law will be publicly identified and reported, using an established Gorge Waterway Protection Fund, you will be prosecuted.

Interesting report commissioned by the Gorge Waterway Action Society in 1994 at lot of the work done by the VOLWS was first developed from the ideas and wishes expressed in this report, it's a good read, what is written is applicable today nothing gained, just got worse.

  Report commissioned in 1994 by the Gorge Waterway Action Society on the wants, needs and desires for those that love and respect the GORGE WATERWAY IN VICTORIA  
Listed below is a number of Papers, Bylaws and Planning  

1) Your Riparian Rights In BC 2009 Riparian Rights and Public Foreshore Use in the Administration of Aquatic Crown Land

2) Coastal Shore Jurisdiction in British Columbia

© 2009 Veins of Life Watershed Society / All Rights Reserved / if you wish to use any info for commercial or non commercial usage you must obtain permissions from The Veins of Life Watershed Society